The Virginia Military Institute Fosters Connections with EverTrue Alumni Community
The Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is a state-supported military college in Lexington, VA. Together with the VMI Foundation and the VMI Keydet Club, it is the goal of the VMI Alumni Association to engage alumni, parents, and friends of the Institute in order to help VMI advance and maintain its unique position in the higher-education landscape.Challenge
The VMI Alumni Association offers a diverse slate of alumni programming—including chapter events, reunions, and career development—but the team was eager to provide graduates with an easy way to network and connect with each other on the go. In addition, it was difficult to keep track of alumni as they moved around after graduation and changed email addresses.Why EverTrue
To address these challenges, VMI purchased EverTrue Alumni Community. The mobile app is custom-branded to VMI and includes an alumni search functionality, a news feed, an event listing, and more—making it easy for alumni to find meaningful connections within the VMI community right from their phones.
On the back end, VMI has been able to collect hundreds of data points on their alumni, such as updated email addresses, LinkedIn career information, and engagement indicators. The data uplift has helped the team cultivate stronger relationships with alumni in pursuit of their mission.Results
• 3,750+ users on the app, spanning across all class years
• 240+ new email addresses captured in 2016 alone
The lasting connection between 'Brother Rats' [VMI graduates] is made even stronger thanks to the EverTrue Alumni Community app.
Building Engagement Across Class Years
Ever since VMI launched the app in 2011, thousands of alumni have downloaded it, updated their profiles, and connected with others in the VMI network. Alumni Services Coordinator Jackie Flint, who manages the app, sees new downloads and activity every week—and not just among younger graduates.
According to Jackie, adoption of the app is widespread across all ages and class years. Out of the app’s 3,750+ users, 78% are graduates of before 2006 and 22% are graduates of last 10 years.
Jackie attributes this to the fact that all VMI alumni—no matter the class year—share a special bond. Graduates enjoy getting together to network and reminisce on their VMI experiences, and the app makes it easier than ever to organize these meet ups.
Our alumni love the app. Wherever they’re traveling, they can see if anyone lives nearby just by pulling up the app and looking at the map. Then they can easily contact each other directly through the app.
Asking for Time and Money
Beyond engagement, Jackie can also use Alumni Community to support the alumni association’s other programs and opportunities. The EverTrue dashboard shows Jackie which alumni are most active on the app (including session counts), so she can run a report of top users at any point. Then she can send targeted invitations to those users for chapter events, athletics games, and reunion in order to boost attendance.
On the fundraising side, Jackie is able identify highly engaged app users for giving opportunities. “If we have alumni who are active in our app but who have not given, we can and should be reminding them to donate.” Jackie said.
VMI's Partnership with EverTrue
From Jackie’s perspective, the EverTrue team has provided outstanding customer support to VMI since the partnership began five years ago. With a dedicated customer success manager and ongoing product support, Jackie can reach out to the EverTrue team anytime for ideas and guidance.
“I wouldn’t even call it customer service,” Jackie said. “It’s more genuine than that; the EverTrue team has taken me by the hand and actually wants to help me make this grow. I have nothing but great things to say.”
Jackie looks forward to continuing to work with EverTrue to make the most of the app and to take advantage of its features for alumni engagement. She remains “amazed at all of the possibilities with the app” and believes that keeping alumni connected in a mobile, social platform is a must for the modern alumni relations office.